AFTER being closed for nearly two years for a £3m restoration, Abingdon’s historic County Hall Museum is to open next month.

The doors to the 17th century building will open to the public on Saturday, July 7.

Julie Mayhew Archer, chairman of Abingdon Town Council’s museum committee, said it will be great to have the town centre building open again.

She said: “It’s our iconic building and Abingdon has patiently waited to see it again.

“I hope people will be impressed and enjoy what the museum will now offer.”

The building has been closed since October 2010 for the restoration and refurbishment work.

As well as new exhibition space and displays, including the last MG made in Abingdon, the revamp includes a lift serving a renovated basement, a cafe, and an education space.

The opening, which will start at about noon, will star children’s television actor Martha Howe-Douglas, who plays Queen Elizabeth 1 in the Horrible Histories series on the BBC.

Visitors will also be able to go on to the roof for a bird’s eye view of the town.

Sheila Hills, chairman of the Friends of the Museum group, said the work had saved the building for at least 100 years.

She said: “They have done a magnificent job.”

An official opening will take place later in the year.

Town mayor Monica Lovatt said: “It looks absolutely magnificent.”

Council leader Sandy Lovatt said local firms had been involved in the work, adding: “It’s a tribute to the quality of local craftsmanship.”

Market Place cafe Throwing Buns is to open a second shop in the basement, called Buns in the Basement, at the start of next month.

Owner Kate May said: “It’s an absolutely beautiful building and we are very excited to be part of it.”

Funding for the scheme included a £2m Heritage Lottery grant, council cash, and other grant money.